Following the animal welfare protection legislation being adopted in the post-Brexit Trade Bill, RSPCA Head of Public Affairs David Bowles said: “This is a significant and welcome piece of legislation that we hope will pave the way to protecting animal welfare standards across the board post-Brexit.

“From the outset, we’ve been clear on the need for animal welfare legislation once EU laws no longer apply to us, so we are pleased the government has accepted that animals need to be protected when we leave the EU. But this is just the start, as the law will only apply to current trade deals - not those in the future. As a next step, the legislation now needs to be rolled over into the new Agriculture Bill and these protections must form part of any other policies which could have a bearing on animal welfare standards.

"We are also seeking for all current animal welfare laws to be kept to the same standard, including:

• All animals to still be recognised as being sentient

• Free trade agreements that prohibit products being imported with lower welfare standards

• Improvement in key areas of animal welfare, such as long distance live transport, food labelling, trade of endangered species and puppy imports."